Manhattan GMAT CAT Test Review

This weekend, I wrote my first diagnostic full length GMAT practice CAT. While arbit browsing I landed up on Manhattan GMAT site where I learned about their free full length practice test. I had heard good review about the Manhattan material so thought of giving it a shot. Well, first my scores:

Overall: 660 (86 percentile)
Verbal: 32 (67 percentile... too bad)
Quant: 49 (90 percentile)

The review:

1. Quant more difficult than the actual GMAT. I found the quant section to be more difficult than the actual GMAT. I am usually pretty confident in the quant section but this time I was stumped. I spent nearly 4 minutes on some questions. Well, one of the reasons might have been that I am picking up this material after a long time. But in any case, while reviewing my mistakes, I took note of all the strategies which were good and those that I am supposed to remember. I am maintaining a doc that has all those "tricks" that I should take care of while solving specific questions. I think it was a good experience, since if you practice with a difficult set, you prepare yourself better for the worst.

2. An actual CAT for practice is mandatory. A lot of material is available online for practice. But your performance in those tests is not truly reflective of what your G-Day performance will be. So for practice, I feel you should go for an online test that closely simulates the actual CAT. For the ignorant souls, the GMAT CAT, or the Computer Adaptive Test, as the name suggests is adaptive to the user's responses.

In the words of Princeton Review:

The Computer Adaptive Test always begins by giving you a medium question. If you get it right, the computer gives you a slightly harder question. If you get it wrong, the computer gives you a slightly easier question, and so on.
3. The Verbal Section closely represents the actual GMAT. I was highly impressed with the Verbal section of Manhattan. It had a fine balance of the right mix of questions with varied difficulty level. Although I did not perform that well, as I expected, I feel it gave me a closely accurate idea of where I stand and which section I should focus on.

4. The optional sectional or per question time limit. This was an amazing and a new feature that I found really helpful, especially for practice. Before each section starts, the test asks you to set the time for each section. Although the real test has a sectional limit of 75 minutes for Quant and Verbal each, here we can set the time depending on how you want to practice. You can also set per question time limit. Let's say you want to target 2 minutes per question for Quant section (37 questions and 75 minutes). So if you are targeting to improve your speed, feel free to set the per question time. A third option is also available to make it without any time limit.

So it depends, what your focus is and at what stage your preparation is. If you want to practice accuracy, forget the time, just go ahead with the test questions. If you want to practice speed, set your target time.

Overall, I feel taking the full length test was good for me as it tested my stamina too. Man, I had never sat for this long, especially for a test in a long time. Believe me, you need this stamina for the actual day to get your brain running till the last question. In addition, this test helped me analyze my weak areas and was an eye opener for me. Just a month and half more to go... phew.